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Spinal cord injury is one of the most serious and life-changing injuries the human body can suffer. Survivors face life-long impairment, some needing round-the-clock care. If you have suffered a spinal cord injury in an accident, on the job, or as a result of someone’s intentional wrongdoing, please, talk to the skilled Mississippi personal injury attorneys of Reeves & Mestayer, PLLC right away. Our attorneys are passionate about obtaining justice for injury victims, and have the experience with spinal cord injury cases to know what you face now and in the years to come.
Living with Spinal Cord Injury
The type and severity of impairment caused by spinal cord injury, as well as the likelihood of recovery depend on the level of the injury and whether it is complete or incomplete.
There is no cure for spinal cord injury, but constant research and advancements have improved recovery for many spinal cord injury victims, and there is hope on the horizon. Full compensation for your injury can help you gain access to the newest and sometimes experimental treatments that can give you the best possible chance of recovery, and are typically not coved by health insurance.
The consequences of spinal cord injury are sometimes misunderstood. Spinal cord injuries can cause chronic pain and hypersensitivity in addition to the loss of sensation and loss of function. People with spinal cord injuries often suffer from secondary conditions that ultimately cut their lives short.
Physical consequences of spinal cord injury can include:
- Quadriplegia (also called tetraplegia)
- Loss of motor function
- Decreased muscle function
- Loss of breathing function – dependence on a respirator
- Loss of bowel control and bladder control
- Loss of the ability to speak
- Dependence on a feeding tube for nutrition
- Loss of sensation and reflex
- Chronic pain
- Muscle spasms
- Poor coordination
- Sexual dysfunction
- Early death
Examples of secondary conditions many spinal cord injury survivors face include:
- Bed sores
- Bladder infections
How Does a Spinal Cord Injury Affect Breathing?
In some cases, spinal cord damage can negatively affect your breathing. If the spinal cord cannot communicate with the diaphragm, the victim cannot breathe as deeply, expel mucus via sneezing or coughing, or clear the lungs. This can be fatal in some cases, as buildup of mucus in the lungs can lead to pneumonia and other diseases. Difficulty breathing is more common with complete injuries, but it also happens with some incomplete injuries.
Much depends on where the injury occurs. If the victim suffers an injury above the C3 vertebra, the diaphragm does not function. They need a ventilator to breathe. Damage to C4 and C5 results in some loss of diaphragm function. While victims may be able to breathe to some degree, they cannot fully sneeze or cough. This puts them at risk of pneumonia. Victims may still need ventilator assistance in some situations. Damage to lower vertebra does not impact the diaphragm but may still affect the abdominal muscles, which help patients cough and sneeze.
The Cost of Spinal Cord Injury
The lifetime cost of spinal cord injury can easily be in the millions of dollars, just for medical care and other expenses.
Many spinal cord injury victims will never be able to earn a living again. Even if your impairment is not so severe as to require constant care and you are able to live independently, you may never be able to return to the type of work you were able to do in the past. If all of your training and experience is in a field that requires physical labor, you are left with few or no options for income in the future.
To learn more about spinal cord injury compensation and how we can help, please call Reeves & Mestayer, PLLC today at 228-374-5151 or toll free 1-855-558-2977 or contact us online to schedule your free initial consultation.